REMARKABLE CHANGES TO NON-CITIZEN EMPLOYMENT LAWS IN TANZANIA

Published by Jessy L. Kalinjuna

The regulations governing the employment of non-citizens have been one of the most widely debated topics in the United Republic of Tanzania due to the complex and heavily regulated procedures in the sector. In consideration of the hardship facing non-citizens in securing favourable employment conditions locally, the government recently amended the Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act, [Cap. 436] through the newly released Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act No. 4 of 2021 to create more favourable conditions for non-citizen employees in Tanzania. 

Section 10 of the Act has been amended by adding a new sub-section 4, introducing an electronic system for applying and issuing work permits. The electronic system for the work permit is also known as the Online Work Permit Application and Issuance System (herein referred to as ‘OWAIS’). The same has been established to facilitate application of permits and their issuance.

The act also amends section 12 (4) of the Act by increasing the period/time duration for the validity of a work permit from the initial five (5) year limit up to a period of eight (8) years, meaning that the validity of the first grant and its renewals should not exceed eight (8) years. Therefore all non-citizen employees whose permit were to expire after the elapsing of five (5) years, or had expired before the amendments can now apply for extension of their permits to the new time limit of 8 years.

The Act amends section 19 of the Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act, [Cap. 436] by permitting all investors registered under the Tanzania Investment Center  (‘TIC’) and those registered under the Economic Processing Zone Authority (herein referred to as ‘EPZA’) to employ a total of up to ten (10) non-citizens without being subjected to prescribed conditions under the Act save for the requirement to pay prescribed fees.

The amendment specifies that the new immigrant quota for companies registered under TIC and EPZA shall not preclude the investor from employing other non-citizens provided that such employment complies with the employment ratio of one non-citizen to ten local employees and the investor has satisfied the Labour Commissioner that the nature of his business demands such number of non-citizens. Therefore, an investor registered under the authorities listed above can employ other non-citizens as long as the nature of business demands so and provided that the employment ratio is satisfied as directed by the Amendment Act.

All other employers of non-citizens not registered as investors under any of the institutions mentioned above shall be subjected to the usual requirement of creating employment opportunities at the ratio of one non-citizen to ten local employees.

This is a commendable move by the government in consideration of promotion of investment and industrialization policies in the United Republic of Tanzania and in ensuring a more condusive environment for businesses locally. Non-citizens wishing to secure this extension opportunity should file their extension applications with the Labor Commissioner as soon as they can to secure the validity of their permits and their presence in the United Republic.